Agenda item

Capital Programme Update


The Chief Officer Finance, Performance and Change presented a report which sought approval from Council for a revised capital programme for 2021-22 to 2031-32 (Appendix A).


She explained that the Local Authorities (Capital Finance and Accounting) (Wales) Regulations 2003 as amended, contained detailed provisions for the capital finance and accounting controls, including the rules on the use of capital receipts and what is to be treated as capital expenditure. The Council’s Capital Strategy, incorporating the Prudential Indicators for 2022-23, was approved by Council on 23 February 2022. On this date, Council also approved a capital programme covering the period 2021-22 to 2031-32 as part of the Medium-Term Financial Strategy (MTFS). Since then, a review has been undertaken of available capital resources, taking into consideration uncommitted funding in the capital programme, the anticipated year end revenue position for 2021-22, the position on earmarked reserves and revenue budgets available for 2022-23. Further background was at section 3 of the report.


The Chief Officer Finance, Performance and Change explained that the capital programme approved by Council in February 2022 for the period 2021-22 to 2031-32 totalled £230.174 million, of which £123.542 million is to be met from Bridgend County Borough Council (BCBC) resources, including capital receipts and revenue contributions from earmarked reserves, with the remaining £106.632 million coming from external resources, including General Capital Grant. A number of proposals for new capital schemes have been received, and these have been considered and prioritised by Cabinet and Corporate Management Board, in line with the Council’s Capital Strategy.


The Chief Officer Finance, Performance and Change outlined the proposed new capital schemes as well as the funding of new capital schemes as indicated in Table 1 and Table 2 of the report. Some key areas were highlighted below:


  • Telecare Transformation Project (£1,405,209)
  • Cardiff Capital Region Metro Plus – Penprysg Road Bridge (£500,000)
  • Community Asset Transfer (£500,000)
  • Children’s Playground Refurbishment (£500,000)
  • Cosy Corner (£500,000)
  • Highways Carriageway & Footway Refurbishment (£1,500,000)
  • Unadopted Roads (£500,000)


Further details on these were at section 4 of the report.


The Cabinet Member Resources welcomed the report and stated the additions to the capital programme mentioned in Table one were exciting opportunities that were much needed. He added that some of these items were for known schemes whilst a number of them will require further reporting to cabinet and council.


A Member eluded to the figure in the report relating to outgoings to the Cardiff Capital Region City Deal totalling £7.7 million. He asked that some clarification be provided on what the money would be used for. He also asked if after 2025 the payments to the CCRCD would end, as there was no further reference of figures beyond this date.


The Chief Officer Finance, Performance and Change explained that the £7.7 million was total spend in regards to schemes paid into or supported by the CCRCD, not total money paid in. She added that she did not have the figures on what had been paid in to date but could gather than information and provide this to Members following the meeting.


The Chief Officer Finance, Performance and Change explained that a number of the schemes provided regional benefits as well as local benefits. A number of the schemes listed in table 1 were local benefits that BCBC may not have been able to find the funds for, hence why they have only recently been earmarked. She further added that one of the key drives in CCRCD is the job creation and transport links that funding will provide, and this was something that benefited the whole region.


The Corporate Director Communities outlined a number of specific areas that the CCRCD funding provided support in. The Chief Executive also stated that a briefing session in the future would be beneficial for Members to gain a greater understand on the various elements that made up the CCRCD.


A Member asked for clarification on the funds allocated to highways carriageway and footway refurbishment and what that meant for historical towns and villages in the Bridgend area.


The Corporate Director Communities explained this money would be allocated on a priority basis whereby evaluations were carried out throughout Bridgend and fed back into a technical database. . This was then evaluated  and those roads that required significant repair would be dealt with first.


A Member asked for clarification on the Penprysg Road Bridge and what that involved as well as what kind of investment over the next few years this would require.


The Corporate Director Communities explained that £500,000 was to fund the detailed design of the Penprysg Bridge, which would also include an active travel bridge at the site of the level crossing. She added that we have been working with Network Rail and it had been agreed that as the bridges would be passing over a main railway line, they will be commissioned  to progress the designs of the bridge for BCBC.


The Corporate Director Communities stated that the consultation was very successful and a lot of feedback was given including some minor concerns, about land take,  She added that when we reached a more detailed position, the Council  wanted to engage with  the community, to provide reassurance in that their views had been taken into account.


She also explained that this scheme would be submitted as part of a levelling up fund bid and the bridge was estimated to cost within the region of £25 to £30 million.  It has been difficult to make detailed assessments on the full cost of the scheme due to it being a main line and site investigations can only be made when trains were not running. A large risk contingency has therefore been added. The LUF bid goes in on the 6th July 2022 and we will know if were successful sometime in the Autumn.


The Leader added a point regarding CCRCD funding and that the South Wales Metro scheme was an example of a scheme that would not have gone ahead without the match funding from CCRCD.


A Member was pleased to see the investment into Coety Primary School as it had been hard fought for and was much needed. He added that now that the recognition of the current school was there in that it was too small for the needs of the area, we would still be waiting until 2025 for the new school. He asked if it was possible to provide some temporary solutions at the current site to allow for the additional pupils until the new school was built.


The Member also asked in relation to the two-year-old school in Pencoed which is also in need of expansion, why this was not foreseen during the development stage.


The Corporate Director Education and Family Support stated that during the time these schools were being designed, Welsh Government only accepted projected pupil number from residential developments that have received planning permission at that time. Therefore, any further housing development in the area, as well as any current plans for developments that had not yet been approved, could not be included in the original assumption. At the time, the adopted supplementary planning guidance SPG16 which was applicable for Band A and used to calculate the size of the provision. In 2019, a review of pupil yield rates for the new housing developments demonstrated a significant demographic change in population and the SPG16 has since been updated to reflect the revised rates and has now been adopted by council.


The Corporate Director Education and Family Support added that in relation to the temporary solutions at Coety Primary School, he welcomed the suggestions and agreed to take the suggestions forward to the School Modernisation Programme Board for further consideration.


A Member asked in relation to table 1 of the report regarding the unadopted roads. He asked for clarification on what this would be used for. The Corporate Director Communities provided a detailed response on the process of adopting roads and how that funding would be incorporated into the process.


A Member expressed concerns that the funding would not bring forth many adopted roads, however he was hopeful that a strategy could be put in place to tackle this in the near future.


A Member asked with regards to the funding to improve play areas in the borough, was any of this money going to be used to improve accessibility as there are various children with complex needs who may not currently be able to access or use the play areas. He also asked for some clarification on the disparity between the figures in the report.


The Corporate Director Communities explained that there were 107 play areas in the borough which were in varying degrees of condition. Every year there was an annual play assessment which looked at the suitability and condition of play areas and highlighted those that required  investment. Last year BCBC pledged £800,000 for investment into play areas and a tender process was carried out. As there was an underspend from last years budget a further £500,000 has been added to the investment programme totalling just under £1.3million for 22/23


She added that not all play areas would be able to be brought up to a significant standard that would provide inclusion of all children with disabilities however the aim is to include as many aspects within the play areas that include as many children’s needs as possible.


A Member mentioned that many roads and lanes in Maesteg appeared to be at an adoptable standard and sat parallel to roads that looked the same that were already adopted. He asked why these roads were not adopted if they were the same as an already adopted road in the next street over.


The Corporate Director Communities defined what the difference was between an adopted and an unadopted road. She explained that where roads were at an adoptable standard, then they would be adopted by the Council. If they were not adopted, there is a reason as to why, which could be minor works that were preventing that. She explained that unfortunately the brough historically had a large number of unadopted roads. It does take time to get roads up to an adoptable standard and the current financial resource of the Council would prevent all unadopted roads coming forward for adoption at this time. She added that if the member wished to put a referral in, we could take a look on site to see what the differences were between these roads to gain a greater understanding.


RESOLVED: That Council approved the revised Capital Programme for 2021-22 to 2031-32 (Appendix A).


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